The Long Beach Police Department has released its end of the years crime statistics for 2020.
Despite a slight dip in overall violent crime, Long Beach saw an increase in murder and aggravated assault in 2020, as well as a rise in property crime, the Long Beach Police Department announced Wednesday, Jan. 27, releasing statistics that aligned in some ways to crime increases in other U.S. cities.
“Year-end citywide crime statistics show that the pandemic may have played a significant role as crime began to shift in late spring,” a Long Beach Police Department statement said. “Similar to many major cities across the nation, we are experiencing an increase in crime here in Long Beach.”
While overall violent crime dropped by 1.4% from 2019, aggravated assaults rose by 18.6% — from 1,131 in 2019 to 1,341 in 2020 — and murders rose slightly, from 34 to 36, or 5.9%, according to the department. Roughly 31% of the homicides happened during disputes that became violent, LBPD said.
A 12.1% increase in overall property crime over 2019 resulted in part from an increase in vehicle, commercial and garage burglaries, as well as a rise in grand theft auto.
Police said officers seized more than 850 firearms in 2020 and made 295 arrests for prohibited gun possession, which is 40% more than the prior year. The department attributed the increase in aggravated assaults to a rise in gun violence.
“We remain committed to serving our community, reducing crime, and continuing to build partnerships through public safety,” said Chief of Police Robert Luna. “As we move forward, we will continue our focus on building on our community partnerships, improving data-driven crime impact, and will also continue to look at new technology like our incoming records management system, which will allow us to better identify and impact crime trends.”
According to LBPD, the department focused on the following areas during 2020:
•COVID-19 Response: Provided resources during the pandemic, such as increased security for panic buying, and worked to educate residents on voluntary compliance with Health Orders. The Department also expanded the types of non-violent crimes that could be reported electronically through the Department’s online “Coplogic” reporting system.
•Monitoring Civil Unrest: The Department diverted resources away from local neighborhoods to prepare, train, and stand by for over 130 events in Long Beach since May 31, including planning for pre-election and post-election activity.
•Prohibited Possessors: LBPD seized over 850 firearms and arrested 295 prohibited possessors last year—a 40% increase compared to 2019 and a 43% increase above the five-year average. Firearm-related arrests have also risen by 36% since 2019.
•Looting Task Force: The task force was formed with the sole purpose of conducting criminal investigations for significant crimes committed during the civil unrest experienced the night of May 31. Since its inception, the task force has done the following:
-33 outstanding arrest warrants
-Over 125 cases have been submitted to the District Attorney or City Prosecutor for filing consideration.
-35 vehicles impounded
-38 search warrants served
•Progressive Training and Policies: In July, the Department launched the Office of Constitutional Policing (OCP) with a focus on ensuring the Department’s policies are in line with best practices in policing, legal mandates, and community expectations. The office will also guide the expansion of data analytics for accountability and transparency. Some top priority policies or practices that have been implemented by the OCP are:
-The development of the Early Intervention Program, policy, training, and implementation
-Established the Bias-Free Policing Policy
-Change in practice by now providing Compelled Statements to the Citizen Police Complaint Commission.
-Continued revision of the Use of Force Policy and Vehicle Pursuit Policy
•Homeless Outreach and Mental Evaluation: The Department’s Homeless Outreach and Mental Evaluation (HOME) Detail which consists of the Quality of Life (QOL) and the Mental Evaluation (MET) teams, made over 8,110 contacts offering services to persons experiencing homelessness, resulting in temporary housing for 268 and permanent housing for 43. Additionally, 1,167 interventions were conducted, and the team participated in over 978 clean-up operations throughout the City.